It's hard to believe it's been 25 years since Kylie Minogue first chuga-chuga-ed onto the music scene with her cover of the '60s hit "The Loco-Motion." Since then, the Australian singer has become one of the most beloved and successful pop stars in the world and she's showing no signs of slowing down.
In 2012 alone she's gone on tour, released two greatest hits albums, one of which, "The Abbey Road Sessions," was recorded with a full orchestra, and starred in two films, the lesbian indie "Jack and Diane" and "Holy Motors," which premiered at the 65th Cannes Film Festival. Tonight she'll perform on "Dancing With The Stars" and up next is a new album, more movie projects and a new book documenting her fashion over the last 25 years.
We caught up with the insanely busy Minogue to chat about songs she wish she'd never recorded, songs she wishes she'd shown a little more love, the stress of living in the spotlight, the best advice she's ever received and more.
The Huffington Post: You've been making music for 25 years. At this point, with all of your success and your huge fan base, I imagine you don't get as freaked out about releasing a new project as you might have earlier in your career.
Kylie Minogue: I think because I've been with my fan base for such a long time and I keep getting newcomers, which is brilliant, it affords me opportunities to do various things like my Anti Tour [Minogue played a handful of shows earlier this year that featured only b-sides, demos and rare tracks]. I don't think I could go off and do a tour like that at the beginning of my career. But I would say it definitely doesn't make me lazier. It keeps me on my toes. I need to keep it exciting for myself. In many ways I feel like I'm just starting to get the hang of it, believe it or not. The first five years I was just chasing my tail or just trying to keep up with everything that was put in front of me and just trying to learn, learn, learn without anyone teaching me.
Speaking of those first five years, with songs like "The Loco-Motion" or "I Should Be So Lucky" that you've performed and rearranged so many times, does the original version remain the best version for you, or are there now later versions that you think are even better?
I think some are better than the originals. Like "Loco-Motion," on "The Abbey Roads Sessions," I think I've taken it back to its even more original state [originally performed in the '60s by Little Eva] than when I did it in the '80s. I think it might be better for that because lyrically it's more of that time. I'm completely subjective, so it's difficult to answer because each song has different memories. Like "Never Too Late" -- I prefer the new version. Is that because it's new to me and in 10 years I might think Oh no, you can't beat the '80s version?
When you're performing classic songs now, where does your head go? Back to when you originally recorded it? Or is it about the evolution?
It's about the evolution -- for sure -- because if I'm performing a song on tour, I'm dealing with so many other things like Is my sound good? Can I perform in this dress? I've got to get from here to over there… blah, blah, blah. All the stuff that you're filtering and dealing with, there isn't any space in my brain to go back to the original version. But I've got to say they're just part of me and they're a part of what brings me and the audience together in that moment.
I did a photo shoot the other day and the photographer had put together a playlist of all my songs, which is slightly weird but also kind of fun in a kind of "it's so uncool it's cool" way [laughs]. Because I don't hear my own songs all that often, it was very entertaining. That kind of experience where I'm not actually performing them but I just hear them on the radio or at something like this shoot, that's when the original experience of that song will come rushing back to me. I found myself telling all these stories. I felt like Bono! Bono has a story for everything. I was like "I remember when I filmed this… I remember when I recorded this…" That's when the original version is definitely part of me.
Are there songs that you would rather had never existed?
Let me tell you -- songs, hairdos, outfits, films. There are plenty that I'd like to put in Room 101 [laughs]. There have been some pretty God awful songs. There's actually one called "One Boy Girl," which I did on the Anti Tour. I did it at one show. I remember going in and telling [the band], "Just brace yourself… it's not good." But it's good for me to be able to have a laugh at myself, which is something I've never shied away from. There definitely are songs that should have never seen the light of day but thankfully there aren't too many of them.
What about songs that you feel like didn't get the attention they deserved? Are there any you now wish had been singles?
Maybe something like.. there were a few from [2007's] "X." I had some people -- whether friends of fans -- who wanted to know why "Speakerphone" or "Like A Drug" weren't singles. "X" had so much going for it that we were spoiled for choice. Maybe from [2010's] "Aphrodite"… I'm trying to think what was on there that was a fan favorite or what was a favorite of mine…
What about "Too Much"?
Strangely, before "Aphrodite" was finished, "Too Much" was what we were considering for the lead single. So, it just goes to show that when you're making an album a lot can change depending on what songs you have and depending on when you release it and what else is on the charts.
You've been in two movies this year, "Jack and Diane" and "Holy Motors," and it was just announced you'll soon be filming a musical inspired by '80s songs. Why so many acting projects lately?
Because I love acting! The pilot light had been there but it was getting dimmer and dimmer and dimmer and I started to think maybe [acting] just isn't the path for me. I wasn't losing the faith but I was losing the energy required to be finding that thing that would be good for me. I'd said for a while that I needed to get the "Nick Cave of the film world" to find me or to notice me and that turned out to be Leos Carax [the director and writer of "Holy Motors"]. Ironically the only thing he knew about me other than my name is my duet with Nick Cave -- it's pretty trippy. It happens in a different place within me -- in my brain, in my body -- acting is just so different. It was a really fresh challenge and I think if I could find a way to do them both, which is what I started out doing, one enhances the other because it's a different experience. I want my next album to be… emoto-pop. Has anyone ever called anything emoto-pop before?
I don't think so. What does that mean exactly?
Emotional pop! I want to be dance floor -- I want to do what I do, which is pop dance, but I think if it has that emotional thread through it then that will ring more true to me at this stage in my life. I'm not 18.
Does that also mean personal?
Not necessarily personal. Just something that has a bit of heart. You can be very efficient with lyrics and you can get the heart fluttering or soaring or make someone cry with a really amazing dance song. And I think that's where I'd like to place myself next time. But I've just found that little bit of acting and doing the festivals with Leos and learning about him, for me, it's kind of like going home -- being on set. But it's like going back to a thing called home, but it's a different, more exciting home.
When you're making music, you're the one calling the shots. But when you're making a movie you have to give up that control. Is that scary?
It's liberating! It's terrifying, don't get me wrong, because I have a liberty with what I do because it's me. I change and it can be where I am in my life and what I want to say and what I don't want to say -- whatever. But if you're a character, it's a completely different challenge and I think it's really scary. Maybe that's why it's exciting me.
You really can't say anything in an interview -- especially in the UK -- without making front page news. I remember when "Aphrodite" came out two years ago and you told a reporter what kind of cold cream you use and it was everywhere.
It was everywhere! And I've never used it since! [Laughs]
Does that kind of hunger for information and that kind of scrutiny about your life get tiring?
To be honest, it does. You'd think I would know by now but you have to do interviews and you have to say stuff. And I like people, I like communication -- that's the most important part of what I do. But in the wrong hands and with the wrong people… yeah. But I get it. I get sensationalism, I get gossip, I understand that. If I'm at the dentist I'll flip through those magazines as well. But it's especially annoying when it's something that is too much.
When I interviewed you a few years ago I told people that it was one of the most difficult interviews I've ever done because you're so composed and in control.
It's a little different with you Americans because you have a different agenda, it's not like [in the UK] where I've been in people's living rooms every day for years -- so, [doing interviews] can be refreshing at times. But having started doing this kind of thing at 18, I've been stung enough times to just be wary. I try to be open. I try to find a balance.
Do you still want to be doing this 25 years from now?
[Laughs] I don't know. I honestly don't know!
Have you ever had a moment when you thought I'd just like to buy an island and ride dolphins and drink tropical drinks all day?
[Laughs]No, I haven't! But I like that idea. The riding dolphins -- that's genius! So I could still be a showgirl but in a very natural setting. [Laughs] That's awesome! I definitely have those thoughts where I think Maybe I should just trim my petunias and be done with it. Have lots of dogs. Family if that happens, that'd be great. But realistically things I know I could do -- buy a house somewhere, OK, perhaps get some dolphins. [Laughs] I love it. You're thinking grand! I was thinking of a country home and you want me to get an entire island!
You're Kylie Minogue!
I think about it but I'm one of the lucky ones. I have a job where the bits that are good are so good, that's why I put up with all the shitty parts.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given over the last 25 years?
Do you know how hard of a question that is?
Of course. That's why I'm asking it.
It would probably be from my father. I'm going to give you two. One is it's OK to say no. The other is trust the opinions of the people you respect. And I don't know that I've adhered to those wise pieces of advice always, but that's how you learn, isn't it?
Kylie Minogue performs on "Dancing With The Stars" on Tuesday, November 13. Check local listings for channel and time. "The Abbey Road Sessions" is now available in stores and on iTunes. For more information about "Holy Motors," including showtimes in your city, visit the film's official website.